November 2, 2012

With Google+, Gmail Just Made Email Addresses Useless

It's old news by now that Google is rolling out a new, experimental interface for composing Gmail messages. But while most techies are talking about the added speed, the new look, and the multi-tasking potential of the updated "Compose" box, one important element of this interface has slipped under the radar.

I'm talking of course about the "To" field. The news here is that, when you add a person, you no longer see their email address. As long as this person is in your contact list or in your Google+ circles, only their name will show up.


This is one of the true advantages of the Google+ platform that's rarely talked about. Identity. A person can now be identified by their name, their picture, their occupation, their location. In other words, you are now emailing John Smith, not the.j.dogg.1489@gmail.com. The same idea will surely be applied to phone numbers in Google Voice.

You are no longer represented by an abstract sequence of letters and numbers. You are a real boy now! With a real name and everything. Now go forth and email some real people! And let's hope this finally appeases MG Siegler.